I’ve been back in Maui again, doing the incredible therapy that I’ve described in previous posts, and working on an entirely different set of objectives this time. I came here with a couple of ideas of where I wanted my efforts to go considering where I am physically right now. I’ll try to explain as clearly and concisely as possible, and it all begins with the hips.
Over the past few months, my exercises and efforts have involved more subtle aspects of my body development. Specifically, the stability of my hips and pelvis have been a central point of my ongoing therapy. In fact, I dramatically changed some of my exercises in recent months to eliminate detrimental compensatory patterns and to ensure that I was retraining my nervous system and muscles in the correct position, giving everything the best possible chance to succeed.
The reasons are simple: 1) Without hip stability, the rest of me is shaky and ineffective. Or put another way, how will the top floors of a four-story building be stable if the second story is swaying and shaky? [See my recent post about this to learn more] 2) Without proper hip positioning, I could be arching my back or compromising my spine which in turn could compress my spinal cord further (the last thing I need) and restrict the flow of nerve signals from my brain to my lower body. 3) It’s difficult to think about taking effective steps with my legs if the pelvis and hips are out of position or I’m trying to establish an entirely new pattern of movement that my brain, spinal cord and body aren’t accustomed to.
As a result, when I came to Maui on this trip, Alejandra and I discussed how best to move forward to achieve the next steps in my recovery. In her words, the human gait is incredibly complex. There are a variety of different muscles involved in different ways at different times in order to perform different objectives. While there are ways to overcome or compensate for some of these muscles being weak, there are others that just cannot be ignored or undeveloped, if one is to take effective steps and establish a sustainable walking pattern.
As a reminder to anyone who’s read my descriptions of Alejandra’s method and approach, muscles aren’t treated individually but as a system of muscle lines connected by the fascia, connective tissue that covers and connects every part of the body to the rest. But to make it easier to understand, there are two primary muscles that I’m working during this trip that are both essential to retraining myself to learn to walk.
The first is the medial gluteus on the side of the butt. I never realized how important this relatively small muscle was until now but it is crucial for the gait pattern. When you shift your weight to one leg in preparation to take a step, without a functioning medial glute, your opposite hip (the one taking the step) would drop down, throwing off your balance, straining your back and spine and making it harder to swing that leg through and take a step.
The second muscle is the psoas, which I went into a bit more in my last post so I’ll spare most of the details here. Needless to say that the psoas is the key component in actually flexing the hip off the ground and allowing you to swing it forward. Most of everything we’ve been doing in Maui has revolved around these two muscles, and how they interact with each other.
This video is a good example of both of these muscles working together. As I pull my leg forward, I’m working my psoas and as I extend back I’m using my medial glute.
In this second video, I’m standing on the Core Align, stabilizing my right leg through the medial glute (as well as quads and other muscles), which allows me to use the opposite medial glute to engage and kick my leg out to the side, all the while trying to keep my hips and pelvis aligned.
I’m not trying to downplay all of the other muscles involved in walking, but these two muscles, and the work I’ve been doing with them emphasize the importance of pelvic stability. As Shakira says, “my hips don’t lie.”
19 thoughts on “My hips don’t lie”
Great post Arash! I love the detail that you go into here. Keep up the hard work!
Nice overview on the importance of being stable before one can add movement. And as always, good for you to be patient with the process, multifaceted and sequenced as it is.
Glad that you’re able to experience it too now 🙂 -AB
Your insight and continuing progress are evident in this post and videos. Inspiring!
Thank you -AB
Great post Arash, and I don’t mind seeing you shirtless either 😏
Hahaha. You’re too kind Dougie. -AB
I love seeing your progress through your posts!!! The fact that you are standing in the second video makes me so happy for you. Your hard work and tenacity are paying off!
Slowly but surely it is paying off. Thanks for the support -AB
I am so glad you are back in Maui! You two keep that magic flowing. Sending big hugs.
Had Tony out there for a while too which was great. Big hugs back -AB
Wow! This is very impressive! You’ve really come a long way… wishing you further success 🙂
Much appreciated. Thanks! -AB
Knowledge is such power and you are gaining both in a practical hands on way. So glad to hear the good news and I wish for continued progress every day!
Thanks Linda -AB
Fascinating and inspirational as always!!
Thanks so much 🙂 -AB
Sorry, I’m behind! But wow! Congratulations, look at those hips move! It makes me so happy to see you prove those doctors wrong!! Sending you tons of good, healing energy as you continue on the path of recovery!